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On the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day…Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because in it He rested from all His work which God created and made (Gen 2:2-3).

Two things grab my attention. The first is that man’s first full day on earth was Shabbat. God gave Adam the command to be fruitful and have dominion over all living things. Then He commanded REST! Picture this - man in this beautiful garden on his first day of life. It was a time to explore the beautiful garden. The next morning, the Creator said, ‘I am blessing this day and I will rest.’ I am sure Adam was not tired! As God rested, so did man in His image.

The second is that God blessed the Sabbath and made it a ‘holy’ time. We think of holy objects or holy places, but God’s first mention of ‘holy’ was Shabbat! Shabbat began with Creation. Creation was not complete until the seventh day. It was not a whole creation without rest. In the cycle of God, this is the most important day. There is a holy time every week!

Observe the Shabbat day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you...And remember that you were a slave in…Egypt and the Lord…brought you out…by a mighty hand…Therefore, the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day (Deut 5:12-15).

There are two verbs in this verse: ‘observe’ and ‘remember’. The Shabbat service includes remembering the exodus from Egypt. Personally, you may want to remember God’s goodness in your life for the past week. Each day of creation God looked back and said it was good. Then He said, ‘observe the Shabbat’. Watch over it. Keeping Shabbat takes diligence and discipline on our part.

Yeshua said, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mk 2:27). Even if you must work, find an hour to honour the Lord with your rest. It is to be a sweet time. That is why we drink sweet wine and eat challah bread which is made with honey. When we observe Shabbat the Lord will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father (Isaiah 58:13-14).

Norma Sarvis is an Israeli who is part of the leadership team of Succat Hallel – a 24/7 Prayer House in Jerusalem. She leads Bat Zion, an organisation that gathers and encourages the believing women of Israel. She is the founder of Katzir youth ministry.

Day 20: Friday Sept 28